OPINION 277
January 1964

 SOLICITATION—ADVERTSING—LISTING IN BUSINESS GUIDE AND CITY DIRECTORIES. A member should not permit his name to be listed under the classification "Attorneys – Legal Services" to a business and industrial trial guide published by a chamber of commerce and intended for business use by members of the chamber of commerce and by others who purchase the guide. A lawyer should not pay the publisher of a city directory for a special listing in distinctive type under the heading "Attorneys and Counselors at Law."

Canons 2439.

Question

(1) The S City Chamber of Commerce publishes an annual membership directory known as the S City Business Industrial Guide. It includes an alphabetical listing of all members and a classified directory of the members. Each member is listed in the alphabetical listing and is provided one listing in the classified section without charge. Additional classified listings are offered at $3.00 each. The lawyer members are sent a form to be filled out so as to indicate the classified section under which he wishes to be listed (the same form is used by all members of the Chamber of Commerce). One category is "Attorney--Legal Services." The Guide is distributed to members and sold to about 2,00 others. It is extolled as "A Valuable Guide to Business in S City."

(2) The publishers of a city directory for S City solicit listings from attorneys. Those who do not pay are just listed under the classification "Lawyer," but those who do pay extra receive a special listing in major type and under the special heading, Attorneys and Counselors at Law."

Is it proper for a lawyer to be listed in the classified section of the Guide or of the City Directory?

Opinion

(1) Under our existing canons there is no specific authority for even a listing in the classifies section of a telephone directory; however, this committee has long held that such listings are proper, and the general consensus has been that such listings in telephone directories as a convenience to clients are proper so long as no bold-faced or special advertising is involved. The listing in the classified section of the Guide cannot be justified on that basis. A classified section listing of the kind described and with the distribution intended would be a violation of Canons 24 and 39, even though a lawyer for proper civic reasons may belong to the Chamber of Commerce. Opinion 237 (1961) marks the outside bounds of listings of this sort, and the present Guide goes one step farther.

(2) It is obviously improper for an attorney to pay for a special listing in a City Directory that will be in distinctive type and in a category which does not list or include all lawyers in the city. See Canons 24 and 39.

Lawyers with an unusually keen sense of professional responsibility may desire to persuade the Chamber of Commerce, publishers of city directories, and other organizations to the viewpoint that it is best not to list or attempt to list lawyers in a commercial fashion or under a vocational classification even in membership directories and particularly when the membership directory is intended for use as a business directory or in any way as a solicitation of business. (9-0)